“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” These famous words are from the American Declaration of Independence.
These lines are probably some of the most quoted lines of any political documents in the world. They stand as a preamble to the document that secures the independence of the most powerful nation on earth.
The American Declaration of Independence is the most important piece of document in America’s history. It could also be said to be one of the most important documents in human history. So many countries of the world are trying to emulate, copy and replicate the values of this document.
It was put together by those who are generally regarded as the founding Fathers of America.
It is not by accident that I started this article HOW TO DISCOVER THE CALLING AND PURPOSE OF EVERY NATION with the American Declaration of Independence, one of the most known and respected documents in the entire world. This simple step, which is my reference to the works of the founding Fathers of America, is a step in obedience to the biblical injunction.
In Deuteronomy 32:7-8, we are advised to seek wisdom from the fathers so as to discover the purpose of nations.
“Remember the days of old, Consider the years of many generations. Ask your father, and he will show you; your elders, and they will tell you When the Most High divided their inheritance to the nations, When He separated the sons of Adam. He set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the children of Israel.”
From this scripture, there are several important truths we must pay attention to if we are to know the callings and purposes of a nation.
Remember the days of old:
The very first thing we must do if we want to find out the callings and purposes of a nation is that we must remember that both in the heavenly realm and in the physical, there is always a day when a nation is given birth to. For the United States of America that day was July 4th 1776. For my country Nigeria, it was 1 October 1960.
The bible adjures us to always go back to the days of the beginning in order to unravel the origin of any nation. Even God despite all his majesty subjected himself to this rule. In Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
As we can see in this scripture, God had to go back to the beginning as well, to the days of old, to unveil the purpose of the earth to us in the Holy Scriptures.
What is the significance of this truth to us and our nations today? For every person who wants to discover the purpose and the calling of their nation or country, the first step they must take is to go back to the origins as stated in Deut. 32:7. Such individuals must “remember” the days of old.
Another reason why this is important is that in the days of old, documents are collected, signed and archived. It is always the workings of God to cause elders to come together and release some thoughts that carry God’s mind, wishes, purposes and callings for a particular nation.
In Jn. 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
Please note that words are thoughts. In this case the words are thoughts of God. These thoughts of God is what God places upon the heart of people he put as the progenitors and originators of a nation. These people conceive in their minds and in their hearts, thoughts that were planted into them by God. These people are later known as fathers of nations, while the thoughts that are given birth to through them become the documents upon which the nation is built. For example the American Declaration of Independence.
In some other cases these thoughts are recorded in National Pledges in other cases in National Anthems. There are various means and ways whereby, divinely conceived burdens and thoughts are reproduced into documents. Yet in some cases these burdens could find their expression in national documents like the constitution.
So when Deut. 32:7 tells us “remember the days of old” that is a very valuable piece of advice that could help us to discover the original intent and purposes in the hearts of the founding fathers for our nations.
A careful examination of those original thoughts, words and documents will always reveal the callings and reasons for the creation of every nation. So everything is in the scriptures. For you to discover and know the callings and purposes of your nation, the first step is go to the old days. Study, research and analyze carefully the early documents. There you would discover purpose for the creation of your nation.
“Ask your father, and he would show you” Deut. 32:7:
The next thing that this scripture advises us to do for us to discover the calling and purpose of our nations is to ask questions from those we call the fathers of nations. Why is God directing us to the fathers? This is as significant as going back to study the documents. The father or elders are those who carry the burden for the independence of a nation, in some cases for the founding of the nation, in other cases, they carry the burden for the creation of the nation. Meaning they are much more familiar with the feelings that were associated to the birthing of that country. Moreover they are better exposed to the sentiments and the passions that led to the bringing forth of the nation.
This is one of the main reasons why history matters. In our schools from primary to tertiary institutions we often hear of history as a subject, but unfortunately few truly know the meaning and significance of history in national development.
History as a subject serves as a bridge between the past and the present. History introduces us to the passions and sentiments of our forefathers. History opens our eyes to the reasons why we are the way we are. History connects the burden of the past to the concerns of today. No wonder people say any nation that doesn’t know her history doesn’t have a future.
God through the scriptures is reconnecting us back to things that truly matter to a people and their nations. Words, burdens and documents matter. So also are the burden carriers, the fathers, the elders, to connect us to what they felt, how they felt and their visions for our nations. When we succeed in reconnecting back to those original intents and purposes both through documents and burdens then we are at the root of a nations calling and purpose.
The third thing that we will need to notice if we are to find out the calling and purpose of our nations according to Deut. 32:8 “When the Most High assigned lands to the nations, when he divided up the human race, he established the boundaries of the peoples according to the number in his heavenly court.”
From this passage it is God who designs every nation’s boundaries. God is at the foundation of every nation. He measures out to every nation their boundaries and their callings. This is understandable since it is only the creator of a thing that can tell or reveal the purpose for it. God is the creator of all things including nations, he knows the reasons and explanations behind the creation of every nation.
I think at this point it might be interesting for you to know how God transmits his will and purpose into the hearts of the founders of nations. In Matt 16:17-19 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” The preceding story to this revelation from Jesus is that Jesus together with his disciples, entered into a region called Caesarea Philippi. This was new territory for Jesus and his disciples. The people of the land did not know much of him because his ministry had been in other parts of the nation. On getting to this new territory, Jesus decided to use it as an illustrated teaching for his disciples. Jesus would normally use the natural things of life to teach deep spiritual lessons.
At the end of the day the disciples discovered that none of them could actually give the right answer to the question of Jesus. “Who do men say that I, the son of man is?” some of the disciples had suggested that he was being seen as John the Baptist or Elijah, Jeremiah or some other prophet. After numerous failed attempts of the disciples to second guess who he was, to no avail, something happened out of the ordinary, completely unexpected, Simon Peter suddenly gave the right answer “you are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus immediately intercepted and made the record straight that this was not an answer given from the understanding of Peter, in other words this is something beyond Peter. Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”
In a similar vein just like in the story we saw above, God was setting up his disciples for the new thing he wanted to do. The intention in the mind of God is that God wanted to give birth to the church. As with every other thing that is given birth to from heaven on the earth, God needed a human instrument who would conceive the thoughts and later release the words upon which the church, nation or structure would be built.
It is this same algorithm and formula that still obtains today. Nations included. Whenever God wants to give birth to a nation or anything new on the earth, he triggers corresponding events just like we saw above with the question” who do men say that I am?”
God in his infinite wisdom actually allows human efforts and attempts to accomplish his purposes in the flesh to fail as we saw in the illustration above. The disciples were trying to give the answer to Jesus’ question in their own understanding and efforts, they failed. The answers they gave did not correspond with the truth.
The same process happens when a nation is been given birth to, many fight, struggle and die in the process. In the aftermath of human failures and casualties, God now allows for other men to arise upon whose hearts he impresses his burdens, that are eventually translated into words that later become documents in various forms.
It is now upon those words of revelations that nations are built, just like we could see in the story above. Jesus said “On this rock I would build my church” the rock been the words of revelation that Peter pronounced. In a similar vein today, every nation is always built upon some words which are documented in different formats.
In many cases unfortunately, these fathers of nations would naively think that they are the ones who in their wisdom were able to create or give birth to a nation. Peter was lucky because Jesus was standing by him to correct that erroneous notion. His words were very corrective “for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you but my father who is in heaven”
Thanks to the Holy Scriptures, we too could be salvaged from that kind of erroneous thinking as we read scriptures like Deut. 32:7-8, we can clearly hear the words of God the father; don’t rely on your understanding, go to the days of old, ask your fathers and elders and through them you would know the way. Purposes, intents shall be revealed to you as it was also in their time revealed to them by the God of nations.
At this juncture I would like to come closer home, what can we identify as the purpose and calling of Nigeria, my nation of birth? I would encourage every reader of this article to use his or her nation as the case study. The documents that are readily available to me right now are the National Anthem of Nigeria and the Pledge to the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
FIRST DOCUMENT- NATIONAL ANTHEM 1
Arise, O compatriots,
Nigeria’s call obey
To serve our Fatherland
With love and strength and faith.
The labor of our heroes past
Shall never be in vain,
To serve with heart and might
One nation bound in freedom, peace and unity.
SECOND DOCUMENT – NATIONAL ANTHEM 2
O God of all creation
Direct our noble cause
Guide our leaders’ right
Help our youth the truth to know
In love and honesty to grow
And living just and true
Great lofty heights attain
To build a nation where peace
And justice shall reign.
THIRD DOCUMENT – NATIONAL PLEDGE
I pledge to Nigeria my country
To be faithful, loyal and honest
To serve Nigeria with all my strength
To defend her unity, and uphold her honor and glory
So, help me God.
Following in the direction of the injunction we got from Deuteronomy 32:7-8, a careful study and analysis of the above mentioned document could help us to identify the purposes, callings and the mission statement of our nation. For illustration sake, I would like to break down one of the National Anthems here so that you could see how values, visions, directions, purposes and callings could be deduced from these documents.
ARISE OH COMPATRIOTS:
Here the Father in heaven and our fore Fathers are calling us to action. To arise! This gives us a clear understanding on why we Nigerians are the way we are. Arise oh compatriots is at the very bases of who Nigerians are. We are always on the move. A proactive people, always on the rise, unlike many other nations even in the continent of Africa, we cannot be a passive or a laid back people. It has been planted in the very foundation of our nation to always be people on the rise. No wonder Nigerians are known to be a resilient, militant and aggressive people.
NIGERIA’S CALL OBEY:
This phrase is also affirming the fact that Nigerians are people who are always arising to do something. In this case they are arising to a call. Nigerians either home or abroad are a responsive people. Hardly would you find a group of people that would be more responsive to challenges like Nigerians are. There is something about the CAN DO SPIRIT about Nigerians. Some other nation would have to use and waste a lot of resources to make their people arise or do whatsoever, but not so with Nigerians. We are a responsive people automatically. Our mentality is rising up to the occasion and challenges because it has been engraved in our National Anthem that we are a people that arise in obedience to our nation’s call.
TO SERVE OUR FATHER LAND WITH LOVE AND STRENGTH AND FAITH:
Before the Babangida/Abacha dictatorship, Nigerians are not widely seen scattered across the nations of the earth trying to survive as we see today. As a matter of fact, different Nigerian tribal proverbs state values like no matter how sweet it is overseas, it is always best at home. Also no matter how much wealth you make abroad, you should always bring it back home.
Nigerians are usually people that are more committed to father land than any other place. Christmas period is a very glaring proof of this when luxurious buses and planes take millions of Nigerians back to their villages for the end of the year celebration. It is implanted in us to commit our love, strength and faith to our father land.
Having lived in Europe for close to 30 years myself, I know that the millions of Nigerians overseas would be ready to in droves come back home as long as they have assurances in security, infrastructures, other basic provision etc. As good as life might be treating them in other nations of the earth, love strength, faith of Nigerians goes first to where they belong before other places.
THE LABOR OF OUR HEROES PAST, SHALL NEVER BE IN VAIN:
This might explain why there is a strong attachment between Nigerians and their ancestors. Even though Christianity has successfully discouraged and eradicated the worship of ancestral spirits- Thank God! Yet, to a large expect there is overall honor and respect for the sacrifices of parents, grandparents and all those who have gone before.
It is not in too many countries where military dictators who are former Heads of States are still honored in the countries where they brought to ruin as in Nigeria. We must take this as our national pride, our advantage not our failure. It’s a wonderful spirit of forgiveness and covering that is envied in other nations. In some other nations some of these old dictators and their families cannot even go back anymore to the nations they once ruined. For example, Indi Amin of Uganda, etc.
TO SERVE WITH HEART AND MIGHT:
Anybody who has visited Nigeria from other countries are normally always shocked at the sight of young men and women moving in-between cars and transportation to sell and hawk their goods. The zeal, energy and passion of Nigerians to survive and eke out a living for themselves always brings foreigners to a state of shock. Service, business, enterprise, zeal, energy, is the second nature of Nigerians. No wonder Nigerians are always proven to be the best in whatever nations they find themselves, in whatever endeavor of life.
ONE NATION BOUND IN FREEDOM, PEACE AND UNITY:
Nigeria has severally defiled the predictions of some of the best experts in the world as to the survival of our nation. Not too many people would believe that Nigeria would still be together today after all the struggles and challenges the country has faced. Surprisingly to everyone, the bond of unity, peace and freedom has proved stronger than the predictions of the doomsayers.
From this my short analysis above, I am sure most Nigerians would identify with the above stated points. What I wish to point out though is that this truth which might be at the very fabric of our nation should not be taken for granted. They must be intentionally cultivated and purposefully pursued by the leaders and rulers of our nation so that the nation and the people will have a sense of direction and belonging.
Even though some of these qualities are evident and self Proclamative in Nigeria, leadership is still much needed to be given to this purposes and call of our people and nation. Schools, colleges, universities, government agencies must be properly coached and trained to intentionally cultivate the values that define us as a people and as a nation.
Another thing that thorough analysis and study of our original documents would give us is definition of our national values, missions and goals. Again using the example of Nigeria, I want to collate from the above mentioned documents, the values I believe the Nigerian nation should cultivate in her peoples. If we could successfully implant and develop these qualities in Nigerians, we would be destined for greatness as a nation.
The list of our national values, virtues and missions:
This list of values is derived from our basic national documents. This should serve as a pointer to every leader, party and government as to the direction by which to lead our people. They could also be great help in how our present and future leaders should lead the peoples of this great nation.
In the words of George Washington, the first President of America “it is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible”
As I read the Bible on regular basis, but more especially as I prepare this article, I am more than ever full of gratitude to God for giving us the Bible. Oh what a book of direction it is. Indeed George Washington knows what he is talking about. If we truly become students of the Bible it would become so much easier to govern the nations of the earth and bring Gods people to a great and prosperous destiny.
I hope that through these my efforts, people of different nations would begin to seek God and the Bible for a more effective governance of their countries. It is my prayer that nations will fulfill the goals and purposes for which God created them.
By Pastor Sunday Adelaja